Even if you work hard to avoid it, you may fall into the 70 percent of Americans getting at least 10 percent of your daily calories from sugar. That amounts to more than eight candy bars if you’re eating 2,000 calories a day! It may not even be your fault.
Sugar is hidden in places you wouldn’t expect… It even has a long list of aliases so you don’t know what it is. Dextrose, evaporated cane juice, and fructose are just a few. Here are 5 surprising sugary foods (that you should avoid)…
1. Salad Dressing: What could be better for your health than a nice big bowl of salad? If you’re drowning it in this stuff, then a lot of things. Some salad dressings are deceptively high in sugar. Even brands that pride themselves on being natural can pack nearly 10 grams of sugar in just two tablespoons of dressing. Reduced calorie “lite” versions aren’t any better. They often use more sugar than full fat dressings to make them taste better.
Your best bet is to add flavor to your salad with fresh lemon juice, some sea salt, and fresh pepper. Throw in some organic olive oil and you have a satisfying homemade dressing without the sugary surprise.
2. Energy Bars: They claim to give your body the fuel it needs to perform at its best. But what they’re not telling you is that you’re eating the same amount of sugar as a Snickers bar. Where it gets really dangerous is when people start eating these energy bars as a snack between meals. They may be high in protein and fiber, but the added sugar content cancels the benefits.
If you want to feel fuller between meals, try eating more fats. They keep you feeling satisfied after you eat and provide you with the energy your body really needs to get through the day. Need something convenient and fast? Eat an avocado or a handful of almonds.
3. Yogurt: It feeds the good bacteria in your gut that protects you from disease. Some varieties even have extra probiotics added to them. But your yogurt could do more harm than good. Some have just as much sugar in them as a can of coke.
Even the low-fat selections—the ones that claim to be better for you—are hiding around 30 grams of sugar in that tiny cup. We’re not talking about natural sugar that comes from the fruit either. Typically the high sugar content comes from one of the worst possible sources—high-fructose corn syrup.
If you don’t want to give up yogurt, look for a plain variety of Greek yogurt. It has less sugar and more protein. You can always add your own fresh fruit.
4. Tomato Sauce: Some brands of tomato sauce are hiding as much as 13 grams of sugar in each four ounce serving. That’s barely any sauce. What if you use an entire jar? That would be just about 80 grams of sugar. Sure, you could get one of the “heart healthy” options on the shelf. But even those have around 10 grams of sugar in a four ounce serving.
You don’t have to give up using tomato sauce. But instead of getting it out of a can, make it yourself.
5. Granola Bars: It’s a food most people think of as wholesome. It’s also the main ingredient in more snack bars than we can count. For a lot of people, these bars are their breakfast. Like energy bars, they’re also a popular snack between meals. But these treats are deceptively high in sugar.
Most popular granola bars have about 13 grams of sugar in them. And it’s not as simple as ditching the chocolate chip flavor for a more “natural” choice. Even the brands that promote themselves as a healthful alternative to “regular snacks” are not that healthy. Their most basic, natural products contain 12 grams of sugar per serving.
Our advice? Skip these bars altogether. If you do eat granola, buy it raw. Try adding it to plain Greek yogurt or even a salad for texture, flavor, and fiber.
Sugar is dangerous to your health. It causes inflammation, leads to diabetes, feeds cancer, and makes you age faster.
Knowing sugar’s common–and surprising—hiding spots in unexpected foods will help you kick it out of your diet for good.